Several aspects of belonging can be explored through any of Peter Skrzynecki’s poems in the Immigrant Chronicle. Peter Skrzynecki explores belonging and its effect on him and his family. Belonging is a feeling that every human has a need to feel. When a person feels like they don’t belong they lose the feeling of security, they lack self esteem and an individual’s physical and physiological wellbeing can also be affected writing civil service competencies .
In the poem “St Patrick’s College” shows the feeling of being unable to belong in such a day to day setting and the feeling of making his mother proud of him despite how embarrassed he felt not being of the same class with the students wearing the uniform that impressed her so much. In similarity the words expressed in the poem “Feliks Skrzynecki” again highlight the enormous feeling of isolation captured within the perimeters of his father’s world as he chose to exist in his own little cocoon bordered by memories of his homeland in Warsaw Poland.
And my third and final poem is “10 Mary Street” which emphasizes the hardship many immigrants face on a cultural level. My chosen related texts to the poems mentioned above are “Camp Rock” a movie directed by Matthew Diamond and the childhood story of “the ugly duckling”. In the movie Camp Rock it explores a young girls desire to fit in to a school of musicians and the lengths she goes to in order to belong and be accepted amongst her peers. Just like Peter Skrzynecki need to also belong this movie is relative in the personal, cultural, historical and definitely the social contexts of belonging somewhere in life.
As we all know, the moral of the story behind the meaning of the Ugly Duckling is that individuality is what we think is important but the pressure to be like everyone else is socially acceptable. The ugly duckling does not see herself as not belonging and the story is a great example of what it really means to belong. Peter Skrzynecki has shaped the poem St Patricks College into a personal and social context of belonging. In the poem you see Skrzynecki does the same routine every school day for eight years but each day on his way home he’s uncertain of his surroundings.
An example of this in the poem is when Skrzynecki reveals “Like a foreign tourist, Uncertain of my destination Every time I got off” The simile expresses that his reflection on the way he felt that he was being treated as if he was a foreign tourist, due to his background not being Australian. The use of the simile helps the reader understand more on how Peter Skrzynecki felt at the time using descriptive language. The use of the word “every time” emphasises that he felt that way constantly. Skrzynecki symbolises the time he spent at the college using the technique of repetition on the three words “For eight years”
This attracts attention to the length of time he spent at school and creates a feeling that he had been waiting so long for the eight years to be over so he could leave. In the first stanza Skrzynecki writes “Impressed by the uniforms Of her employers sons , Mother enrolled me at St Pat’s With never a thought To fees and Expenses – wanting only “What was best”. This quote describes that his mother wants him to attain the same status as her employers sons and has placed her belief system on her understanding that she is providing him with a better future then what she had by him attending the college.
The poem reflects an extremely negative view of Skrzynecki’s time at the college seen in the second stanza when Skrzynecki is sitting under the principal’s window sticking pine needles into the school’s motto of his uniform. This shows the lack of respect that he has for the school which then follows up the thought that Skrzynecki is disrespecting the college because he doesn’t belong there, he feels that he isn’t accepted within the school community and this is his way of releasing his hurt and anger. In the last stanza Skrzynecki describes his last day at
St Patricks College with the quote “… That the darkness around me Wasn’t “for the best” Before I let my light shine” Concludes his journey as he detaches himself from the dark years at school and how he is now been set free to finally let his light shine. Throughout the duration of his eight years at St Patricks College his actions are indicative of his personal feeling of not belonging. This is also seen in Skrzynecki’s poem “Feliks Skrzynecki”. This is shown in the fifth stanza when the department clerk asks “Did your father ever attempt to learn English? This quote uses the technique of direct speech breaks down and asks the question of how someone can integrate into Australia and not know or learn the nationwide language. The poem also involves a historical context which is viewed through the concept of his desire to not socialise and integrate within the Australian community. This is shown in the third stanza when Skrzynecki writes “… Talking, they reminisced About farms where paddocks flowered With corn and wheat…. ” The techniques used in this quote are imagery and descriptive language.
With the use of imagery the reader depicts a visual image which creates a deeper understanding of the times Feliks is reminiscing and reflecting with his Polish friends. The Descriptive language used creates the descriptive understanding of what went on during pre – war Europe and the memories saturate the minds of Feliks and his friends. This technique explores the concept of belonging as we read Feliks exclude himself from the Australian culture which creates a cultural concept of not being accepted. 0 Mary Street is a cultural and social context shaped within belonging. As long hours and long days subside to daily rituals as quoted in the poem “For nineteen years We departed Each morning… ” Of the keeping the memories of Poland alive within the walls of the family home only highlight the isolation for Peter Skrzynecki as his feeling of not belonging to his Australian roots run deeper that the vegetable roots so lovingly watered each day in the backyard.
Personification, similes and metaphors have been used in the poem to create the meaning of how the Skrzynecki’s put themselves in the category of “outsiders” choosing not to adapt to their new life and trying to establish their old life in their new surroundings. My first related text camp rock shows the significance of the “belonging” connection between Skrzynecki and “camp rock” is easily attributed to the belief system of what the word actually means to each person.
Mitchie wants to be a musician but believes she will not be accepted based on her perception of what she thinks will make her feel accepted by the group so she presents with a false exterior in the hope of finally “belonging”. For my second related text Ugly Ducking reveals that born being different and basically labelled “ugly” is certainly a stereotype no one ever wants to feel. The meaning behind this story is relative in our desire to be accepted and the hurdles we may endure along the way. If you look into the mirror you see a reflection you are supported to accept no matter what you see.
What happens inside our head is based on our inner strength and this story reflects and confirms that even the animal kingdom face rejection and the need to be needed. In conclusion the poems can be collectively summarised via personal, cultural, historical and social context so for example if you are the “ugly duckling “or “Feliks” living on “10 Mary Street” attending “St Patricks College” hopeful to graduate to the prestigious “Camp Rock” the message to hold onto is just be yourself no matter what uniform you wear, whatever country you are in, there is somewhere we all belong.